Saturday, 31 January 2009

Using Training as a Change Lever......awareness and understanding

This is the second part in my 'Using Training as a Change Lever' series.

Getting people in an organisation to change can be a tough nut to crack. There are many change levers that you can pull and training is certainly one of
them. Of course in practice the trick is to pull a set of levers adjusting each one all of the time as you steer your course through the change maze.

So how can you use training to get people moving along the commitment curve ?

Let's think about an example - imagine you are a large financial institution and you realise that you need to change certain aspects of your culture, perhaps implementing more formal controls into your environment. Most people in the organisation will just not be interested in changing unless they understand what is behind the change and how this could impact them.

Specific training interventions can have some real impact here. For example rolling out a short piece of eLearning to every employee that details what the company is doing (and why) and
what kind of changes need to take place. What does this do?
  • it makes sure that every person is aware of the change
  • it provides a consistent level of messaging to everyone in the organisation
  • it provides each employee with a base level of understanding about the change.
Of course this now means that people are starting to think about the "what's in it for me" (WIIFM) question and will generate all sorts of queries and debates. Therefore making sure the managers and leaders in the organisation are equipped with the right information is vital.

As with all training it is important to think carefully and agree the outcomes that you want as a result of people receiving it. Thinking about the commitment curve then you need to think about the following:
  • What are the differences in skills, knowledge and attitude that we want from people as they move from 'awareness' to 'understanding' for example.
  • How will you know that people have moved up the curve - what will it look ad feel like (both as an observer but also as an individual going through the change)
  • How will you be able to measure and therefore demonstrate that people have 'moved'?
If you go through this process then the learning interventions you design will be focused on achieving the right outcomes giving you a good chance of success.

So for example there may be a whole series of learnlets that you develop to achieve your outcomes and make the learning stick. Here are a couple of examples of 'learnlets' that are useful at the early stages of the commitment curve:
  • regular talking heads from a variety of people across the organisation. Demonstrating how the change will impact them, what it means to them and how they are dealing with it.
  • regular briefings from senior management updating people on what is happening. There are a huge variety of ways to do this. Think about blogs, Twitter, video blogs, wikis and any number of social networking tools.
  • short bites of eLearning that focus on a particular aspect of the change. Regular 10 minute chunks that people get used to receiving. It means minimal impact on their job but a regular 'drum beat' of information.
As you can see many of these items are about communicating information - it's about raising awareness and starting to develop an understanding.

As a learning professional you need to be creative, work closely with the Communications function......and be tenacious. People don't like change - you will meet resistence at every stage.

In my next post I'll take a look at how we start moving people towards adoption - another set of challenges! If you are up for that then check back soon..

Using Training as a Change Lever....Part One

One of the things I love about my job is that I get to work with lots of different organisations who all have one thing in common - they are facing some significant change.

For some of them this is critical for their survival over the coming years, for others it represents huge opportunity with the promise of gold at the end of the rainbow. The current economic climate means that just about every organisation out there is facing some sort of change challenge.

Why do organisations often find it hard to change? Well for me the answer lies with the fact that organisations are made up of people.......and most people by their very nature want to keep things as they are. They need some (quite often significant) motivation to go through the pain of change and need to believe that there is something 'in it for me' (the WIIFM principle).

I really like the model shown below known as the Commitment Curve. It shows how a persons level of commitment will go through various stages starting from 'contact' where people are just starting to hear about the change, right through to 'internalisation' where people are creating their own innovative ways to change and really owning it.

What I plan to discuss over the coming posts is how training can play a role to help move people up the commitment curve. I will base this on my own experience of what I have seen works and what fails! I will also discuss how you can evaluate the success of your interventions.

The next post will focus on raising awareness and generating a level of understanding about the change......stay tuned....

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Blue's up to you...!

Apparently last Monday was 'Blue Monday' - the low point following the Christmas and New Year break. It is apparently the time when we are hit with a combination of receiving the credit card bills detailing our indulgent spending and also the time when we realise another year is ahead and maybe we have already let slip on a couple of those New Year resolutions!

I was reflecting on my past week at work (which included Blue Monday) and it has been an incredibly busy, hectic and tiring one. I am working on a client project at the moment and we are approaching some tight deadlines. I have worked 65 hours in 5 days which included not getting home until 1:30am on Thursday night.

However, I feel really good about it.....surely that shouldn't be the case!

Over a coffee yesterday with my coach (the company I work for connects everyone with an internal coach) I was chatting about my current project. I realised that the work I am doing right now ticks many of my career boxes and is providing me with real motivation. So much so that despite a few hours sleep I was happy to be back in work on Friday morning!

However, if you took away the motivation factor I would be looking back on the week through a very different set of eyes. I would be looking for ways to 'take something back' by going home early or moaning to my friends and colleagues. I was about to write that I am lucky, but actually I changed jobs last year following a re-evaluation of what I want to do and where I want my career to go.

The credit crunch is providing thousands of people with an opportunity to really evaluate whether their career path is really the one they have chosen or whether it is something they have drifted into. If it is the latter then Blue Monday probably takes place every week. Redundancy can provide a release from the 'golden handcuffs' - where people feel trapped in a job by the money and subsequent lifestyle. Family, mortgage and even status can provide people with a million reasons just to keep plodding along.

On the news this morning was a guy who had been made redundant early last year. Since then he has started his own business working on something he is passionate about. He was so enthusiastic that the presenter asked what motivated him. His reply was simple ' I am doing what I love doing'.

Are you doing what you love doing? If not then what are you going to change?

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Now that's what I call leadership.....

I was mesmerised by the story this week about Captain Chesley B Sullenburger III who crash -landed a plane in the Hudson River in New York.

In case you didn't see the story the flight took off from LaGuardia airport and hit a flock of birds. Incredibly this caused both of the engines to fail immediately. Captain Sullenburger was faced with a split decision as to what course of action to take. He decided to glide the plane and it's 155 passengers safely onto the Hudson River apparently landing so smoothly that some of the passengers didn't know it was a crash land.....until the water started rushing in. The crew immediately evacuated the plane and every member was led to safety. Captain Sullenburger refused to leave the plan until he was 100% sure that there was no one left on board, walking up and down the aisle 3 times himself just to be sure.

Someone, somewhere must be welling up with pride that their training and pilot development programme has produced such an exceptional result. Captain Sullenburger clearly had many, many years of experience but this was all built upon a solid foundation of learning that he received primarily during the Air Force as a fighter pilot. Pilots are trained to deal with these high pressure situations that require a combination of split decision making, calmness and the application of incredible skill.

If you are looking for an example to demonstrate that great people development is a combination of 'teaching' and on the job learning then here it is. Captain Sullenburger had received the best training possible but applied and refined his skills over a 40 year period.

If there was ever a person you wanted to have flying your plane then he is your man. Of course there are many other pilots and crew out there who are also primed, trained and ready to deal with such a situation.
I take my hat off to all of you and those who are responsible for their development.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Who have you inspired today?

Who have you inspired today?

It sounds like one of those fluffy questions that those HR people like to ask you whilst you are standing at the water cooler. However I have been thinking recently about some people that have inspired me to do things that I would not otherwise have done.

Here's a summary (I have not included names but I think the individuals will know who they are):
  • Earlier this year I was chatting with a colleague who told me about his blogging experience. I was amazed and inspired to start my own blog......and a whole new world opened up for me.
  • One of my training suppliers engaged me in a series of conversations about my beliefs and values, and how this shapes me as an individual. This sparked my fascination in the whole subject and has eventually led me to even focus on it as a career.
  • Watching Lewis Hamilton win the Formula One World Championship and to observe his focused and determined approach has inspired me to set my own expectations at a higher level.
  • 6 years ago I was moaning to my boss about how I didn't like my job anymore. He asked me what I wanted to do......and I couldn't answer. This motivated me to really think about it.....and resulted in a total career change.
  • Researching my family history and finding out how my Great Uncle was killed in the First World War has inspired me to value all sorts of aspects of my life in many ways.
Each one of us is touched and inspired by others. Each one of us touches and inspires others.

We don't always know this is happening but just stopping to think about it now and again can help focus on where we are and the impact we have on each other.

Who have you inspired today?

Monday, 5 January 2009

Join the leadership carnival

It's carnival time again over at Dan McCarthy's Great Leadership blog.

If you are interested in leadership development, succession planning, talent management, career planning.....or just want to discover a real gold mine of quality information, tips and advice.........then don't delay, click today!